Jelly Roll Gives Powerful Testimony To Congress On Fentanyl Epidemic: “Attended More Funerals Than I Care To Share”

Jelly Roll Congress

From selling drugs to going to prison to testifying on Capitol Hill…Jelly Roll has been on quite the rollercoaster.

The Grammy-nominated country superstar has been open about his past, growing up selling drugs and going to prison for armed robbery before pursuing a career in music and becoming an outspoken advocate for those who are struggling with addiction.

And today, he took his unique perspective to Washington DC to testify in front of the Senate Banking Committee on the fentanyl epidemic.

The chair of the committee, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, joked that having Jelly Roll testify before the Senate may not have been on anybody’s 2024 Bingo card. But as soon as he started speaking, it was clear why he’s the right man for the job.

In a powerful opening statement, Jelly Roll started by pointing out that, ironically, he’s not even allowed to vote because he’s a convicted felon – so he has no partisan agenda when addressing the issue:

“I have no political alliance. I am neither Democrat nor Republican. In fact because of my past, my right to vote has been restricted, thus for I have never paid attention to a political race in my life.

Ironically, I think that makes me the perfect person to speak about this, because fentanyl transcends partisanship and ideology. This is a totally different problem.”

And he then pointed out the staggering scope of the problem, one that’s affected him personally:

“190 people a day overdose and die every single day in the United States of America. That is about a 737 plane. That’s about what a 737 aircraft can carry. Can you imagine the national media attention it would get if they were reporting that a plane was crashing every single day and killing 190 people?

But because it’s 190 drug addicts, we don’t feel that way. Because America has been known to bully and shame drug addicts, instead of dealing and trying to understand what the actual root of the problem is with that…

I’ve attended more funerals than I care to share with y’all. I could sit here and cry for days about the caskets I’ve carried of people I love dearly, deeply, in my soul.

Good people. Not just drug addicts. Uncles, friends, cousins, normal people, some people that just got in a car wreck and started taking a pain pill to manage it. One thing led to another. How fast it spirals out of control, I don’t think people truly, truly understand.”

Jelly Roll admitted that it’s a little ironic that a former drug addict is testifying on the drug epidemic:

“I’m not here to defend the use of illegal drugs. And I also understand the paradox of my history as a drug dealer standing in front of this committee. But equally I think that’s what makes me perfect to talk about this.

I was a part of the problem. I am here now standing as a man that wants to be part of the solution.

I brought my community down. I hurt people. I was the uneducated man in the kitchen playing chemist with drugs I knew absolutely nothing about, just like these drug dealers are doing right now when they’re mixing every drug on the market with fentanyl. And they’re killing the people we love.”

And he told a powerful personal story about the impact that the epidemic still has on his life:

“I have a 15 year old daughter whose mother is a drug addict. Every day I get to look in the eyes of a victim in my household of the effects of drugs. Every single day. And every single day I have to wonder if me and my wife, if today will be the day that I have to tell my daughter that her mother became part of the national statistic.”

Yeah, that’ll move even the cold hearts of the people in Washington DC.

Jelly Roll also likely made some politicians uncomfortable when he called out the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma who are largely blamed for the opioid epidemic with the introduction of OxyContin. I mean, you can’t be criticizing the pharmaceutical industry to people who are paid by the pharmaceutical industry, right?

But that’s just what Jelly Roll did:

“I’m here to tell y’all that fentanyl is going to make the Sackler family look like saints.”

Mic drop.

Of course it’s likely that everybody knows somebody who has suffered from addiction. My home state of West Virginia was ground zero for the opioid epidemic and the destruction caused by the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma, and it still hasn’t recovered.

And society often writes off those addicts rather than helps them, a disturbing trend that only leads to more addiction, more misery, and more death.

Jelly Roll has a powerful voice and a compelling story, a unique perspective in this national crisis.

And luckily, he’s willing to use his voice to speak up and make a positive change in this country.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock